RUDY WARNER ROBBINS

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Submitted by Billy Hathorn, Class of 1966  

Rudy Warner Robbins

 
Rudy Robbins in John Wayne's The Alamo
Born November 17, 1933 (1933-11-17) (age 74)
Evergreen, Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana, USA
Residence Bandera, Bandera County, Texas
Nationality American
Occupation Actor, Singer; Songwriter; Script writer
Religious beliefs Baptist
Spouse(s) Divorced
Children Jody Eldred
Parents Charles and Mary Alice Grimble Robbins
Notes (1) Robbins once said that he would have preferred to have been a simple cowboy but decided his best opportunity lay in presenting the Western culture to audiences at home and abroad.
(2) Robbins former band "The Spirit of Texas" was recognized as the "Official Cowboy Band for Texas" by the
Texas State Senate.

(3) Robbins career as an
actor and stuntman began with a minor appearance in John Wayne's The Alamo (1960).

(4) The
Port Arthur Historical Society maintains an exhibit on Robbins in the Museum of the Gulf Coast.

Rudy Warner Robbins (born November 17, 1933) is a Western entertainer known for his singing, songwriting, acting, writing, and his past performance of film and television stunts. He is also affiliated with a real estate firm in his adopted city of Bandera, Texas.[1]
 

Contents

 


 

 Early years, education, military

He is the youngest of four children born in Evergreen in Avoyelles Parish in south central Louisiana to Charles Robbins, a native of Mississippi, and the former Mary Alice Grimble. His middle and last names coincidentally are the same as a city in Georgia but with one additional "b": Warner Robins. When Rudy was two years old, the family moved to Port Arthur on the Texas Gulf Coast, where he was reared. He graduated in 1952 from Thomas Jefferson High School, now known as Memorial High School, and then, for one academic year, attended Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, known at the time as Lamar Technical Institute. Himself a Baptist, Robbins graduated in 1956 from East Texas Baptist University in Marshall in east Texas with credentials in business administration and sociology.[2]
From 1957-1959, Robbins served in the
United States Army and was on the Fourth Army track team. He set a record for the javelin throw, the same event in which he had lettered at ETBU. In the Army, he met the son of a film producer who told him about job opportunities in Hollywood as a stuntman.[3]

 

 Moving to Bandera, Texas

After military service, Robbins moved to Bandera, a small community west of San Antonio which calls itself "The Cowboy Capital of the World". He worked there for a time as a wrangler at the Dixie Dude Ranch until he was offered a speaking but unnamed role as one of the Tennessee Volunteers in John Wayne's epic The Alamo, which was filmed not in San Antonio but near Brackettville in Kinney County in south central Texas. In The Alamo, Robbins was involved in a short dialogue repeated several times during the film: a fellow-Tennessean would review a developing situation and ask Robbins, "Do this mean what I think it do?" Robbins would reply, "It do." Thereafter, John Wayne called Robbins by the nickname "It Do"; one of Robbins' treasured possessions is a souvenir Alamo mug addressed to "It Do" from "Duke", Wayne's nickname.[4]
After The Alamo, Robbins went to Hollywood but returned semi-permanently to Bandera in 1971 though he was on tour for many of the following years.


 

[edit] Acting and stunts

Wayne introduced Robbins to legendary director John Ford, who hired him as an actor in Two Rode Together with Jimmy Stewart and Richard Widmark (also filmed near Brackettville) and later for stunts in Cheyenne Autumn, also with Widmark, and in three other Wayne films, McLintock! with Maureen O'Hara), The Green Berets and Rio Lobo (1970).[2] Robbins' other parts were for uncredited stunts in The Rounders (1965) and Sugarland Express (1974). He also appeared as a mechanic in Sugarland Express. He did stunts for CBS's Gunsmoke in 1964, acting as a double for series star James Arness.[4]
In 1966, Robbins played Josh Cutler in
NBC's Daniel Boone with Fess Parker.[5]Robbins holds Parker, later a large Los Angeles developer, in high esteem because Parker paid him in advance: "He knew I was hard up. When I showed up on Monday morning, he handed me an envelope with my first episode’s pay in advance," recalls Robbins.[4]
Along with Wayne,
Clint Eastwood, and Charlton Heston, Robbins was awarded honorary membership in the Stuntmen's Association of Motion Pictures. Robbins also trained horses for other stuntmen and became a production manager for various shows.[2]

 

 Later activities

In 1967, he was selected by the United States Department of Commerce to go to Europe as a "Cowboy Goodwill Ambassador" to introduce and promote the sale of denim jeans.[2]
    Rudy Robbins (back) poses with his Spirit of Texas band members from left, Ray Tate, Cal Berry, and Roger Heinen.   The Spirit of Texas in this photo includes, from left, Johnny Way, Roger Heinen, Ray Tate, and Rudy Robbins. It was formerly the "Official Cowboy Band for Texas."

  Later, he joined Monte Montana, Jr., to re-create Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. With a cast of 125 cowboys, cowgirls, and Indians and 135 bison, longhorns, and horses, the show toured worldwide from London to Brazil to Singapore. The group was particularly well received in Japan, where it performed four to five shows daily for four months. The last wild west show performance was near Glacier National Park in northern Montana. Back in Texas, Robbins produced the Rudy Robbins Western Show and the All American Cowboy Get-Together, a two-day event of music, poetry, cooking, arts, crafts and demonstrations.[2]He is also active in the "Keep Bandera Western" campaign.[4][6]


Robbins formed The Spirit of Texas, a western harmony group, which in 1991 was named by the
Texas State Senate as the "Official Cowboy Band for Texas". Modeled on the old Sons of the Pioneers, the band performed for such celebrities as Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Rogers, Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash, and Tom Selleck, as well as General H. Norman Schwarzkopf and Texas Governors Ann W. Richards and George W. Bush.[4] Robbins and the Canadian yodeler Shirley Field[7] co-authored How to Yodel the Cowboy Way, which can still be obtained through Amazon.com.[8] After the death of two members, the Spirit of Texas disbanded.


Robbins has also written
short stories for Cowboy Magazine. Robbins is featured in the Museum of the Gulf Coast, which is administered by the Port Arthur Historical Society.[2]He resides in Bandera, which is nestled in the Texas Hill Country. In 2008, he was seeking to sell a television series tentatively entitled Intriguing Mysteries of the Old West. One episode would focus on the unsolved ambush killing in 1908 of Sheriff Pat Garrett of New Mexico.[9]
Among his awards, Robbins has been made honorary town
marshal of Tombstone, Arizona, honorary deputy sheriff of Pima County (Tucson), Arizona, and "Outstanding Cowboy of the 20th Century" for Bandera County, Texas. He was commissioned an admiral in the Texas Navy by former Governor Bill Clements. He was awarded a plaque for excellence by the Texas Stuntmen's Association.[3]


Robbins is the
divorced father of one son, Jody Eldred (born 1956) of Marina del Rey, California, who is a producer, director, and cameraman in the television industry.[9]

 

 References

  1. Rudy Robbins, Bandera Real Estate"://local.yahoo.com/info-30564873-robbins-rudy-bandera-real-estate-bandera
  2. a b c d e f .museumofthegulfcoast.org/Content/Personalities/Notable_People/Rudy_Robbins
  3. a b Rudy Robbins biographical sketch, supplied by Rudy Robbins
  4. a b c d e "Rudy Robbins", Texas Hill Country Magazine, Winter 2007:Hillcountrymagazine.com/issues/20074/128.php
  5. Internet Movie Databaseimdb.com/name/nm0730454/
  6. Keep Bandera Beautiful", with photographs keepbanderabeautiful
  7. "Shirley Field: Yodeler extraordinaire
  8. Robbins and Shirley Field, How to Yodel the Cowboy Way: - Rudy-Robbins/dp/1574240358
  9. a b Statement of Rudy Robbins, September 5, 2008

Retrieved from wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudy_Robbins" Categories: 1933 births | People from Port Arthur, Texas | People from Texas | People from Louisiana | East Texas Baptist University alumni | Baptists from the United States | Lamar University alumni | Western film actors | Texas actors | American songwriters | Living people | American businesspeople

  We would like to thank Rudy for allowing us to put his biography on Minden Memories.